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Our History

For nearly 25 years, The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) has worked closely with hundreds of community partners in the Puget Sound region towards our vision for a sustainable world. Today, we are focused on addressing the climate crisis through our investment strategy, operations and grantmaking. We are proud to share some notable partner stories, milestones and history through our film series. 

Over 20 Years Together
Video Length: 14:35 minutes
Produced by MYLKmedia

When the Russell family sold Frank Russell Company to Northwestern Mutual Life, Jane and George Russell funded The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) in 1999 with part of the sale proceeds. This led the way for the couple’s extended family to make a quiet, sustained, positive impact in the larger community. Learn about some of the guiding principles and values behind TRFF along with powerful partner stories from grantees around the region, including the Community Boat Project, Jane’s Fellowship Program graduate Christian Lopez, Pierce County Fresh and Harbor WildWatch. For more information on TRFF, visit our About page.

Puyallup Watershed Initiative: Community-Centered Change

Video Length: 9:32 minutes
Produced by MYLKmedia

From its beginnings in 2012 as TRFF’s largest place-based program, to an independent community-led nonprofit in 2018, the Puyallup Watershed Initiative had worked with a broad coalition of individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and government leaders to improve the health of the Puyallup watershed and its communities. Follow along and hear stories from people, including former Executive Director Jennifer Chang, former Director of Programs at TRFF Henry Izumizaki, the Veteran’s Farm (Veterans Conservation Corps and Four Elements Farm) and the Active Transportation Community of Interest.

Jane’s Fellowship Program: Seeding Grassroots Impact

Video Length: 7:14 minutes
Produced by MYLKmedia

To honor late founder Jane Russell’s legacy, The Russell Family Foundation launched Jane’s Fellowship Program (JFP) in 2004 to support the leadership development and capacity-building of grassroots leaders in Pierce County. Since it began, the program has graduated 75 individuals from seven classes. Current Fellows and graduates are making real, on-the-ground impacts in their local communities. Hear stories from TRFF board member Dion Rurik, staff member Necashaw Montgomery, Class 8 Jane’s Fellow Dakoda Foxx, and JFP graduate Nora Leider of Guadalupe House. For more information on this program, visit our JFP page.

Investing Fully: Aligning with Mission and Purpose

Video Length: 7:09 minutes
Produced by MYLKmedia

Since our beginning in 1999, we’ve focused on intentionally stewarding all of our resources toward collective, community-driven impact at every level. Toward this end, we began engaging in mission-based investing with the goal of strengthening communities and promoting economic vitality. Coming soon we’ll share a short film about our journey toward conscious investing and our many lessons learned along the way. For more information on our journey, visit our Impact Investments page.

Special thanks to MYLKmedia Productions and the many individuals who contributed to these films, including:
  • Agustin Moreno, Four Elements Farm owner
  • Amy Moreno-Sills, Four Elements Farm owner
  • Bettina von Hagen, Managing Director & CEO EcoTrust Forest Management
  • Brad Harrison, Managing Director, Alvarium Tiedemann |AlTi
  • Brian Barker, former Frank Russell Company employee
  • Britta Francesconi, TRFF staff member
  • Chris Rurik, TRFF board member
  • Christian Lopez, Jane’s Fellowship Program graduate
  • Dakoda Foxx, Jane’s Fellow
  • Dion Rurik, TRFF board member
  • Dixie Gatchel, Active Transportation Community of Interest
  • Eric Russell, former TRFF board member
  • Fabiola Greenawalt, TRFF staff member
  • Gillian Locascio, Farmer
  • Heather Carawan, Team Child communications manager
  • Henry Izumizaki, former TRFF staff member
  • Holly Powers, former TRFF staff member
  • Jamie Venters, Sunshine Employment Services
  • Alyssa Opland, former TRFF contractor
  • Jana Davis, Army veteran
  • Jason Alves, Veterans Conservation Corps program manager
  • Jennifer Chang, former Puyallup Watershed Initiative executive director
  • Joan Sobba, former Frank Russell Company employee
  • Kathleen Simpson, TRFF CEO
  • Kathy Brown, Russell Investments records manager
  • Lindsey Stover, Harbor WildWatch executive director
  • Linsey Sauer, former TRFF staff member
  • Liz Kaster, former Puyallup Watershed Initiative staff member
  • Matt Mroczek, Vice President of Finance, Organically Grown Company
  • Micha Ide, Pierce County Fresh project manager
  • Necashaw Montgomery, former TRFF staff member
  • Nora Leider, Jane’s Fellowship Program graduate
  • Lyle Quasim, Forterrra Strong Communities Fund Board Member
  • Richard Russell, former TRFF board member
  • Richard Woo, former TRFF CEO
  • Ron, trail construction worker
  • Sara Zier, Team Child staff attorney
  • Sarah Cavanaugh, TRFF board member
  • Shelley Means, Ojibwe/Lakota tribe
  • Tiffany Thompson, former Puyallup Watershed Initiative staff
  • Tracy Rector, Choctaw/Seminole tribe
  • Venise Cunningham, Pierce County Fresh project manager
  • Virginia Menstell, farmer/mentor
  • Wayne Chimenti, Community Boat Project director
  • Xander Farmer, Community Boat Project student
  • Yvonne Sanchez, former TRFF board member
  • Zac Russell, former TRFF board member